It’s time to admit it to myself. This house is worth blogging about.
I recently moved into a house. My first house. If the story is correct, it’s over 100 years old, built in honor of our nation’s 100th birthday. It was moved by barge from Philadelphia to Harrisburg. It has an arch through the middle. It straddles a road into a cemetery. It has a major intersection in front of it and quiet neighbors behind. On each side of the house/street, there are yards. One side of the house has been built into an efficiency and the rest of the house, including basement, attic, and second floor is the other living space.
We decided on the house because of a combination of price, location, DIY project opportunities, and appropriate level of eccentricity for our tastes.
The Story (so far):
In the fall of 2015, we were living at Drew‘s grandparents house, supposedly for the winter but that option seemed like it was becoming increasingly precarious and we wanted a place of our own regardless. We were tired of renting and living at the whims of others.
We had considered two other properties. The first was a 10 acre piece of land an hour north of Redding, CA. We’d be in the middle of nowhere and be able to develop the land. It would have been far away from everyone (including friends and family) but pose a fun challenge and insure plenty of privacy. This was voted out because it was too far away and the time investment would be overwhelming, in my opinion. The second was the house with no running water that we stayed in the summer of 2015. Despite the great amount of effort it would take to restore, it was relatively close to friends and family, gorgeous (old house, 5 acres of land, a creek running through it with an part of an island). It was eventually voted out because the initial cost would be high, then that number would be doubled because of the intense repairs that would be needed and we’d have to drive nearly everywhere. It was outside of budget and I worried I’d never see Drew again because of the amount of work it needed and he would want to do himself.
Then, Drew was reading news in the basement of his grandparents’ house. He read about the arch house for sale in Harrisburg. He leaned over and said, “Look at this.” I did. “Do you think we should buy it?” I said, “Yes, we should definitely buy it.” This meant, of course, that we should just go look at it. I had not shown this much enthusiasm about any of the other properties. This one was priced right so that we would still be free to move to Italy should the time come (should Drew’s citizenship go through – complicated story), it was close to friends and family for the time we still had in the USA, it had the potential to generate income should we turn the efficiency into a rental, and it still offered DIY projects, but not to an overwhelming extent like the others. It was an interesting house in a good location for us. And then we’d have a home we would own where Drew and I could have offices and we could focus on what we needed to do rather than be thrown around and in a constant state of instability and unexpected drama.
We saw it and it was as we hoped and we put in an initial offer. Then, the inspection happened and it was going to potentially need a bit more work than we anticipated. We put in an offer based on the inspection. We had decided that if it didn’t work out, we would move to Washington state to be closer to Dangerous Things‘ headquarters. They did not accept the offer. We walked. We moved to Washington.
About three months later, Drew received a text. They offered a much lower number. We negotiated. We would be moving back and buying the house.
On our trip back to PA to close, we had a surprise party for our friends at a mysterious location. Those that came were like, “wtf” and we told them we’d bought it and then they were like, “WTF!” and there was much joy. We also made it a surprise for Drew’s sister and that resulted in happy tears and many hugs.
After six months of living in Washington, we moved back. There have already been many a misadventure with this house to blog about!
I miss Washington. I miss the mountains and the Puget Sound and the short winters and mild summers and gorgeous everything. I miss Amal and Jodi and Gabriel. I wished I could pick up the house and all my friends and family here and just place them in Washington. But, hard choices must be made. Washington is expensive and far away and we want to retire early.
We opted for extreme winters and summer, small mountains and no ocean. But we have a house that is fun and we can afford. We have a ton of friends and family nearby. We have the hope of our wild life thousands of miles away should Italy work out. And, we have a better chance at an early retirement. But, perhaps most importantly, we have a home.